The Curious Eye

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Government 2.0

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Topic Outline:

Democracy – A paradox

Fundamental flaw in the concept of government

Technology enabled government – a new paradigm

*Please note that these are personal views and bear no reference

Off late, I was wondering if the statement about democracy “government by the people, of the people for the people” truly valid and possible in a social scenario. Humans always put together their different experiences and learning into a ‘culture’ basket. But obviously given that everyone has different experiences, senses, logic and ideas. These cultures are not uniform. They are more like diffused clusters spread across a continuum of thoughts and actions. Over a period of time, some clusters get accepted widely while some don’t. As time passes by more thoughts and experiences are infused into existing culture paradigm. This is what is culture evolution. The number of people subscribing themselves to various cultures keeps varying and the popular ones start dominating. They struggle hard to keep their culture intact sometimes even by consistently changing one’s own culture. Nevertheless, all these cultures are dynamic activities that grow in varying possibilities. In such a diffuse discreet continuum, the possibility of having a uniform law/code of conduct/rules  is sounds fundamentally unnatural to the evolutionary process.  At any given moment We should be having all types of thoughts, all sorts of people, all sorts of ideologies. The moment this is not there, and the moment everyone believes there should be one single solution we have reached the ultimate point. If we all accept democracy is the ultimate form of government

But practically do we all believe we should have democracy? What if you don’t? What if you were just born into one. What if you had no choice. I did not make any choice. But that is still Ok. What about those millions of people who had a choice. They did not even get to exercise it. The reason? They had not even studied other forms of governments. The deciders of the fate of this country decided that it should be democracy. How do they even know, whether it was the best thing for everyone. Who were the people to decide whether it should be a democracy or not? Did the leaders conduct a survey or took votes to decide whether they wanted democracy? And even if they did what if only 51% of the people wanted democracy, the rest did not. 49% is a sizable population. How many such series of votes they conducted? At every vote the number could have fluctuated. And even if it was in favor of democracy say 70% wanted democracy the rest did not. Even then, the rest 30% had to accept the fate. They were dominated by the choice of the larger group. Even if it is not 30% and it is just 1% but still they get dominated. Let me tell you, the popular notion, may not always be the right notion. 90% of the 70% of the people who had unassumingly made a choice in this example would not even know what libertarianism is or what anarchism is. The decision makers were few and they took the decision on their behalf. Probably they knew all that, but they could have been wrong. Or may be they did not represent the masses well. What I am driving here is that the choice was made by a few for a large set of people. Which means it was non-democratic at its inception itself. Its rather autocratic. The large were put into believing that this is the best choice. They stop questioning it. They stop questioning its effectiveness or they are forced to. We shut ourselves to other options. Democracy here was not by the people. It is also not for the people as 30% do not want it. Or maybe even 1% do not want it. But even then they are forced into accepting it. And it is also not of the people. By of the people I am assuming it is representative of the entire culture spectrum. How is that possible? There is no consistent uniformity in cultures as I explained previously. There cannot be a single representation of diversity. Such an idea itself is against diversity. Democracy is itself un-democratic. It is a paradox. Even within a culture cluster there cannot be sufficient representation. Cultures being dynamic, the representation will have to be changed dynamically. This is not possible. So we know that there is no representation possible. Definitely not a significant representation. Then how can an insignificant representation be accurate. How do you know 51% who voted made the right choice even for themselves. There could be a 5% scope of error. How do we know that even if we conduct another voting, the percentage will remain 51%. It will surely change. In that case, do you think the 51%, a number being just marginally higher than its secondary group, should be the basis of decision for putting in place a democracy? Should the rest 49%, or 30% or 1% people leave and run-away? where and why should they? why should they accept such a government which they never wanted. The branding of democracy is wrong. The phrase “by the people, for the people, of the people” is completely wrong in my opinion. It is impossible.  It is a paradox in itself. It will mean enforced decisions on others who don’t wish to subscribe to the popular thought. Not democracy. I don’t have another answer, probably libertarianism  I don’t know. And I never will and all decisions will be taken on behalf of me by hopefully someone smarter than me. But since he does not represent me adequately, I will not be happy.

Moreover, the very existence of a government entails the presence of an agent to coordinate stuff for you. This agent as per the popular agent-principal theory and like any other agent will default. So, does it entail that governments are imperfect in the first place. If that is the case, should we accept this imperfection and move on? Or work around to create a system to deal with this imperfection? In my opinion, imperfections should be minimized. But how? Should we use better logic? better analysis? probably algorithms? If yes, does it mean we need a self-correcting system to check that governments do not fall short of their ultimate objectives of creating maximum value for the world. This means we need people who are strong in analysis and logic and probably create algorithms for benefit of society which can deal with such imperfect systems. Imagine that an enterprise has a central Enterprise Resource Planning system at its very heart. ERP systems will evolve into future to become very smart and intelligent at allocating resources within an organization. Can we use, such a system for running the affairs of a country. Can we create systems based on advanced analytics, predictive modeling, intelligent decision making and algorithmic architectures to overcome the bounded rationality of human beings and work out the best decisions for everyone? Technology, could also become an unbiased agent meaning the chances of it defaulting could be minimized. It could usher in a new sense of resource distribution, capital allocation, regulation and monitoring to achieve the vast targets of humanity and society. If this succeeds could this be a utopian solution to the perennial problem of power accumulation and its subsequent abuse? Or is there any other alternative, or should we just learn to live with our imperfections and continue to get abused by corrupt governments?

In my opinion, we need to look at Government 2.0, a new paradigm of technology enabled governance which is focused on achieving the objectives of the society it serves.  We should look ahead to leverage existing event driven architectures, complex event processing technologies and invest in advanced algorithms that will incorporate social behavior patterns and economics to evolve into tomorrow’s systems which will converge the existence of humanity for the sake of achieving its objectives. Hopefully it will lead to a Society 2.0, which converges our cultures, sciences, social setups into one trans-formative system for all.


Written by pghode

March 8, 2013 at 4:48 pm